Bits: good value Avios hotel deals (including Hilton T5), SPG category changes and ‘goodbye Kamp’

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News in brief:

More exclusive Avios hotel deals has sent me details of their latest special offers for booking hotel rooms via their hotel booking portal.

Hilton Heathrow T5 (which is not actually in the airport) is included.  A 3-night stay from 20th May is £309 at the Hilton HHonors member rate.  Via it is £230 + 2,100 Avios which works out at almost 4p per point.

At the luxury end, the Rocco Forte Hotel de Russie in Rome is £2,450 for the same three nights in a classic room.  Via it is 15,750 Avios + £1,495 which gets you 6p per point.  If you choose to pay entirely in Avios, however, the value drops back to 0.78p!

Similar deals are available at the Excelsior in Hong Kong, Blue Waters in Antigua, Turim in Lisbon and the Hilton at Madrid Airport.  It is not clear when these deals end but they were still active last night.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

Park Lane Hotel London

Starwood Preferred Guest category changes announced

Hot on the heels of the Marriott Rewards changes, Starwood Preferred Guest has announced its annual list of recategorisations.

You can see the list here.  The list of increases and decreases is roughly 60 / 40.  The biggest shock will be at the 30+ hotels moving from Category 5 (12,000 – 16,000 points per night) to Category 6 (20,000 – 25,000 points per night).  That is a big jump.

It was interesting to see the fantastic St Regis in Istanbul, where I was last week (review to follow), dropping to Category 6.  With room rates in Istanbul at record lows at the moment, however, a redemption will still not be great value.  Rooms were selling for €260 when I was there compared with 30,000 points.  I would usually expect more than double the value for an SPG redemption.

In the UK, The Park Lane Hotel in London jumps from Category 5 to 6.  This hotel is currently coming to the end of a massive refurbishment so the increase may be justified – see the new room photo above.  The Great Northern Hotel at Kings Cross is also increasing to Category 6 just a few months after joining SPG.

Meanwhile, the Hotel Kämp in Helsinki is leaving Starwood on 29th February.  I only stayed there once, in pre-HFP days, but I remember being hugely impressed by it.  It is reportedly joining the ‘Leading Hotels of the World’ marketing group.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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  1. The new Sheraton Dubrovnik drops from 4 to 2 which is a good deal. Although it’s a little way out of town.

  2. Hotel de Russie is great – perfectly placed for a loo break when shopping near Piazza del Popolo. But £800 a night! Madness!

    • This is a highly prestigious hotel, featured in the Gallivanters Guide and other luxury travel publications as one of Europe’s best hotels. I have it on our list to visit and was happy to pay £800/n, but think I’ll actually take advantage of this Avios offer. I did some quick checks for dates in June on other sites and it looks like a good saving, even if you consider that as you’re not booking with AMEX you’re missing out on the free breakfast and €85 credit.

      • Lady London says:

        I wonder if this is one Daniel at Propeller Travel might be able to get some good inclusions at that wouldn’t cost more than you would pay just for the room anyway? Could be worth a check.

      • I like a bit of luxury too but staying in a hotel because a website has deemed it “prestigious” would be some way down my list. YMMV 😉

        I am lucky enough to live in Rome a 10 minute walk from the de Russie. That hotel is on a narrow street right next to a piazza which is a main gathering place – union rallies / demos, big screens for sporting events etc…It’s certainly a very comfortable place but alternatives worth thinking about include the Roma Cavalieri, Aldrovandi Palace, Villa Spalletti Trivelli. Hope you have a great stay, it’s an endlessly stimulating city.

  3. The Kamp was my first ever SPG redemption. Utterly superb. We were in town for a family party and got upgraded to a suite – caused a bit of chatter!

  4. Can anyone recommend a good family hotel for an overnight stay in Oslo.
    Qatar have delayed the onward flight, so a hotel with a nice pool would be handy 🙂

  5. Looks like Excelsior deal ended – isn’t on the offers page and the rates aren’t anything special in March!

  6. Does anyone know how long the sign up bonus on the SPG Amex takes to post after hitting the spending target?

  7. Ah, yes. The Park Lane Hotel in London.

    That would be the one NOT in Park lane but in nearby Piccadilly. 🙂

  8. No luck with the Hilton T5 or the Excelsior in March. Looks like that Avios deal was very short lived.

  9. rams1981 says:

    O/T has anyone received their bonus for using Amex foreign exchange? Think it was 1000 bonus avios

    • Nope, neither me nor my wife have had them. Phoned BA got some hopeless person from a foreign call centre who said no it’s not BA it’s Amex and put me through to Amex, after a few mins Amex came back and said nope, it’s BA not us! I will try again next week!

    • Not yet. Paid within 80 days of transaction. Mine due next Sun

      • As an update I received my 1,000 bonus avios today. The transaction was 10 Dec

        • Sussex Bantam says:

          Thanks for the reminder on this – I chased AMEX today and, conincidentally or not, the 1000 points posted this evening.

  10. O/T but Virgin appear to have announced a change to upgrade pricing when booking upgrade rewards, (click “Upgrades Table”). It feels a little hidden away, but the bottom line seems to be that whilst more miles will be required to upgrade, additional fare classes will be upgradeable (from 1/3/16). So perhaps not a full devaluation in the standard sense.

  11. Why would anyone stay 3 nights in an airport hotel?

    • Maybe if it’s a long stopover on a longer flight? Considering doing it in Singapore on way to Australia. My wife does not like long haul so a break in the middle will be needed.

      • I feel her pain. On our first trip to Auckland we went direct to Beijing, overnight there and on to NZ next day. Had lunchtime to lunchtime in Beijing so time for sightseeing, dinner and hotel in town and back to airport at reasonable time the following day. Last trip was via Dubai/SYD/AKL and we swore never to do that again.

  12. If I buy a rate with a hotel with 4 nights parking – is that on top of the night I stay in the hotel (so 5 nights in total) – or 1 night in a hotel and a 3 night holiday?

  13. OT: How can I find out whether the hotel I want to stay at has an executive lounge open to Accor Plat? Just trying to find a hotel where I could get free breakfast without ringing up a dozen places…

    • Hmm, there might be a thread on FlyerTalk? Can’t remember for certain. Otherwise a case of looking at the hotel and see if they sell Exec rooms, but make sure the description does definitely mention a lounge! Also beware that some properties annoyingly exclude breakfast access from lounges for Accor Plats, so you only get in later in the day for drinks/snacks 🙁

    • The only guaranteed lounge access, with the Amex hotel cards, would be Sofitel via Accor Platinum. Hilton Gold gets you free breakfast at most brands but not lounge access.

  14. OT (as Bits article!) – but in case anyone else received a ‘pure’ Debit Mastercard as part of signing up for a new BT line – I’ve found that although they don’t let you pay bills with them, the old NS&I route that used to work with 3V cards works perfectly 😀 (it seemed to waste it in a shop where I could use my Amex or Hilton VISA and get money towards a spending target!)

  15. Another OT – I can’t see any sign of it on their website but Southwestwater will happily accept PayPoint for paying your bills, I got them to send me my booklet of paying-in slips this morning. From past experience, you can ignore the 1/12 per month idea and just pay 12 months up front (if you like) on your Amex, more if you fancy a refund to your bank a/c lol

    I bet many other water cos will accept PayPoint

    • You would have been proud of me today, Harry – 10p/L off at Morrison’s thanks to £100 Amazon GC purchase on my SPG Amex 😉

      • Nice one. My last tank-up I just got 1p/ litre 🙂

        Got a points coupon so just bought a £15 Amazon card to save £2.50, sounds pathetic but that’s nearly 17% off my next Amazon purchase. With the 1p x 60 litres = 60p. With the Avios = 30 ie 30p. All in all nearly 23% off my next Amazon purchase @ this amount.

        We are conserving cash as my wife is getting the full monty into her pension this year – might be the last opp with all the tax reliefs, I reckon.

        My other hunch is that the higher rate tax relief dies at midnight on budget day, same as whisky & beer.

        • Agree definite risk re pensions and they might worsen the multipliers used to assess final salary schemes too.

        • And the old 25% tax-free definitely at risk, with any luck just for the future so existing schemes should be OK

        • Rather OT but Telegraph seems to confirm that higher rate tax relief on £40K pension contribution will die on Budget Day – therefore your last chance

  16. OT but does anyone know if my Accor Platinum that I have due to AMEX Platinum which expires 09/16 be extended to 04/17 which is 12 months from when AMEX are withdrawing the benefit?

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